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Largest USA/Global blank manufacturer Clark Foam closes it's doors.

Largest USA/Global blank manufacturer Clark Foam closes it's doors.

The surfboard manufacturing industry is reeling in shock as the USA's largest blank manufacturer Clark Foam has closed it's doors, which has already started to affect jobs in the USA directly involved with surfboard production.

Effective immediately Clark Foam, 1,000 blank a day production was forced to close it's operations for two weeks in Mission Viejo California, supposedly due to an EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) order awaiting further investigation, but the plot is starting to thicken and it looks like the reason is because of something else.

Stunned shapers in the USA are hinting that this could be the dooms day for the surfboard manufacturing industry with PU board prices already in the USA having seen up to a $100 price hike since Monday.

The closure has seen ramifications already spreading across the industry at a time where cheap Asian imported boards have been flooding the US and International markets. Hundreds of people either directly or indirectly associated with board manufacturing in the U.S. have already lost their jobs and the fallout is expected to be larger.

"We are all (surfboard manufacturers) watching this very closely here in Western Australia and no doubt globally. This will have a huge impact on the board market globally with USA responsible with supplying a majority of the Japanese market. It doesn't take much to add up that we are a lot closer to Japan than the US and this could open up a bigger market share for us here, as the Japanese do not like buying boards from China or the South East Asian manufacturers. It's a pity we as Australians don't take a leaf out of the Japanese book and do the same. We should be taking pride in locally Australian made boards and supporting our companies here in Australia. Next time you are out buying a board, ask where it's made. Yeh, they might be cheaper, but you get what you pay for and the resale value on them is minimal" said a West Australian shaper who did not want to be named.

In Western Australia over the last year we have seen Dave Brash, Nick Pope and Campbell Quinn close their surfboard manufacturing businesses down due to not being able to compete price wise with the overseas imports.

Some manufacturers, especially backyarders, who have no factory leases or overheads, have lowered their prices to below shop retail prices to try and push their label and inadvertently this has seen some shop owners forced to stock imports to try and keep up with some of the foolish prices that have been seen.

So all in all it looks like we will have to wait and see what the ramifications of this will be not only globally, but within Australia.

In the meantime, make sure you buy Australian made. Sure you may say "All my clothing and other surf orientated products come from china", but this is where it all began. The shaper, the surfboard, the whole industry started it's beginnings from the humble surfboard.

Wax, clothing, surfing wetsuits, weren't invented first, then someone decided to make a surfboard to go with it.

Surfboards started the whole thing we now call the surf Industry.

So this Christmas more than ever, support your local surfboard manufacturer

We shouldn't be importing our surfboards, we should be exporting our quality products and that's our surfboards.